Man accused of producing drugs threatens investigative journalism portal KRIK with new lawsuit

July 1, 2024

Predrag Koluvija, who is being tried for cultivating marijuana on the largest plantation in this part of Europe (marijuana production is prohibited in Serbia), has threatened the newsroom of the Crime and Corruption Reporting Network (KRIK) with yet another lawsuit for allegedly “presenting lies” in an article in which it is stated that Koluvija had been suspected of producing marijuana even before the revealing of the latest scandal, back in 2012.

He accused the newsroom of KRIK, which investigates cases of corruption and organised crime, on two previous occasions. KRIK was recently found guilty on the basis of his first lawsuit, while procedures are still underway regarding his second lawsuit.

Prior to publishing the article that led to the latest lawsuit, journalists submitted questions to Koluvija that he failed to answer.

Interestingly, Koluvija is being tried from a position of freedom and is being defended by a lawyer who is a prominent member of the ruling party and who appears in pro-government media outlets, while the police inspectors who exposed the case of marijuana production are living under murder threats and facing several court cases launched against them.

KRIK editor Stevan Dojčinović, has said that he is not optimistic, because “politics has a great influence on the department of the courts that deals with proceedings against the media” and that “even good journalism can no longer save us.”

KRIK has been placed under tremendous pressure due to the filing of lawsuits – 17 so far, including multiple SLAPP lawsuits. This investigative journalism portal has also been sued twice by the judge of the Court of Appeal in Belgrade, Dušanka Đorđević, due to its database of judges in Serbia. Apart from financial compensation, the plaintiff is requesting that the portal be banned from operating for two years and that its staff each receive 10-month prison sentences.